Over the last few years peo­ple have become obsessed with being the best that they can be. Whether it is fit­ness, or in the work­place, appear­ing to suc­ceed is every­thing.

We live in a snap­shot cul­ture, per­tain­ing per­fec­tion to image or videos that last mere min­utes. A lot of effort and orches­tra­tion goes into this, but we all know they are not the every­day, they are poised and false­ly per­fect­ed. Yet, we still aspire to these “suc­cess­ful” lifestyles.

For­give the pre­am­ble; there is a point to this.

More often than not, our learn­ing styles and devel­op­ment become part of this image cul­ture. We are shown what per­fect looks like and are expect­ed to become it with lit­tle help from those around us. When this is demon­strat­ed to us, we leave feel­ing inspired and moti­vat­ed. But how long does that last? And how do we put it in to practice?


You’ve just got­ten back to your desk. You’ve got a meet­ing in 5 min­utes. Right, here we go, every­thing you’ve just learnt about how to give the per­fect pre­sen­ta­tion is going to come into play. But does it? Can you even remem­ber the ins and outs of your ‘train­ing’? You can remem­ber the train­er being enthused, but what was it he said about body lan­guage again? 

So you try and put it into prac­tice but you fail. Inevitably. Revert­ing back to your old meth­ods and habits (Joyce and Show­ers, 2012).

experiential learning

Why does this happen?

We are giv­en snap­shots of these per­fect­ly pol­ished ‘experts’, who are sup­posed to make us ‘experts’ by sim­ply dis­sem­i­nat­ing infor­ma­tion. Whether this is through eLearn­ing or face-to-face ‘lessons’, this method of teach­ing is slow­ly los­ing its grasp on the learn­ing and devel­op­ment sec­tor. This is because, link­ing back to my some­what overzeal­ous title, we are sur­round­ing our learn­ing with disillusionment. 

The expec­ta­tion that we will walk away from the learn­ing envi­ron­ment and become incred­i­ble human beings is huge, so when we fail or fail to improve, the fail­ure is demo­ti­vat­ing and leaves us all won­der­ing why. We’ve received all the right infor­ma­tion, haven’t we?

We expect, in our opti­mistic ways, to sim­ply absorb and exe­cute train­ing with­out hav­ing the chance to prac­tice our­selves. With­out self-reflec­tion it is excep­tion­al­ly hard to change your behaviour.


Bring­ing our feel­ings into reflec­tion (Pedler et al., 2001)

Information does not mean behaviour change

We can all become experts. But, with­out apply­ing the the­o­ry we learn to our envi­ron­ment and being coached in rela­tion to spe­cif­ic learn­ing out­comes to pro­mote crit­i­cal think­ing (Schon, 1983), behav­iour will not change (Joyce and Show­ers, 2012).



Kolb’s expe­ri­en­tial learn­ing cycle (adapt­ed from Kolb, 1984)

We need to move away from knowl­edge cap­i­tal and towards human cap­i­tal. A place in which we can coach and nur­ture the work­er in order to encour­age behav­iour change. You can pass on knowl­edge, that much is true. But with­out nur­tur­ing and coach­ing, that knowl­edge will remain in the dusty cup­board of learn­ing past. In order to become experts we need the oppor­tu­ni­ty to par­tic­i­pate in addi­tion­al learn­ing activ­i­ties, such as effec­tive work­place-based coach­ing and self reflec­tion in order to sup­port learn­ing and take action over our behav­iour (Kolb, 1976). 

To discover other ways that video can help you improve learning and development in your organisation, download your free copy of the whitepaper, Vision for Learning Organisations.

Expe­ri­en­tial learn­ing: I’m no expert… but I could be!
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